Monday, March 03, 2008


by Gina Sestak

My Sadie Hawkins Day comment here joked about wanting to use the blog to propose to my favorite actor -- it would be necessary to propose on the web, since I've never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, nor do I know of any way to get in touch with him directly. But this post is not about him.

This post is about the true love of my life -- learning.

Those of you who've been following my many posts about former jobs know that many of those jobs were part-time gigs I held while working my way through school. What you may not know is why I went to so much trouble -- working multiple jobs, selling blood plasma, being homeless. It was so I could go to school. I want you to know that I had no ambition whatsoever at the time. I wasn't thinking about a degree or a career. I was living my ideal life -- a life in which I could go from class to class and book to book, finding out all kinds of fascinating things about all kinds of fascinating subjects, solely for the joy of learning.

I am happy to report that I've once again assumed that way of life, albeit in a limited way. I'm participating in a 15-week Citizen Police Academy through the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and, since I'm over 55 and semi-retired, I am eligible to take classes through the Osher Life Learning Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. Due to my present three-day-a-week job, I cannot audit any of the undergraduate courses Osher offers, but I've been able to take a hands-on class at the Pittsburgh Glass Center (in which I made a disappointingly ugly square thing) and a film class, in which we watch movies and talk about them -- none, alas, featuring that favorite actor. In a few weeks, I'll be learning to recognize birds.

OK. That's what I love. Now, fess up. What do you love?


Annette said...

What do I love? Besides the obvious: family, friends, my kitty Skye, the easy answer would have to be reading and writing.

Unlike you, Gina, my love for learning developed later in life. I sure didn't love school at the time when I was in it. But once I was OUT of it, I discovered a passion for first one subject, then another. That's when I started taking a class here, a workshop there, picked up a few credits here, a few more there.

I love browsing the Community College brochures and love when I find a class I can fit in my schedule. I'm envious, Gina, of your opportunity to do the Osher Life Learning thing. But I will see you at the Citizen Police Academy tonight!

Tory said...

Gina: Let me make a casual guess. Could your favorite actor just happen to be someone who has an ongoing role in the Harry Potter movies?

In terms of the love of my life, I'm a Gemini, so I have to have two. One is dance and movement. For 20 years or so it was International folk dancing, but now yoga has taken its place (with occasional foreys into dance, such as an English Country Dance weekend or being part of our church "dance choir.")

The other is psychotherapy and exploring the psyche. I combine the two in the body-centered therapy I do in my private practice, and in a different way in my mental health training (my therapist pointed out that the best trainers have a bit of the stand-up comedian in them.)

I figure there's so much to explore with the two of these, they're bound to last a lifetime!

Martha Reed said...

Gina, I'm with you, always looking for more knowledge. As Grace Slick sang: Feed Your Head.

My sister pointed out what I learn is mostly useless knowledge, but that's what helps me as a writer. I never know what I'm going to use or need, or even when I'm going to need it, so how can I start weeding it out now, ahead of time?

Gina said...

Tory -

You know who my favorite actor is. [For anyone who's worried, you can relax. I'm obsessed with one of the adult Harry Potter actors, not one of the kids.]

Folk dance is one of my secondary loves, even though I'm terrible at it (and you know -- you've seen me at dance camp). I'm clumsy and can't remember any of the steps, but for sheer joy of movement, there's nothing better than folk dancing. Or maybe it's just such a treat to be moving in sync with other people for once in my life.

Martha -
I often think of myself as a repository of useless information. Maybe we'll both get on Jeopardy some day and put that learning to good use.

JennieB said...

I'm another fount of useless knowledge. My head is crammed full of bits and pieces of this and that that I trot out when the occasion demands. It's amazing how knowledgeable you can make yourself sound with just a well-placed piece of useless information that no one else knows. ;-)

As for the love of my life, in addition to family, friends, and of course Cary Elwes in his Princess Bride days, I'd have to say books. I love a lot of things - dance, drawing, writing, archaeology, travel - but I don't know how I would live without books.

Joyce said...

I love to learn, too. I'm a bit of a Civil War geek (probably why #1 son is working on his grad degree in history). I'm also full of useless information. My husband hates playing any kind of trivia game with me--I'll win every time.